Bookmark and Share

Not Quite Urban Farming

Urban farmers go online with Facebook and FarmVille games.

By Rachael Brugger, Associate Web Editor

Farmville chicken

Virtual urban farmers can raise chickens and other livestock, as well as connect with neighboring farmers through the FarmVille application on Facebook.

Urban farming takes on a new meaning when farmers milk cows and plant corn and soybeans in their PJs from the comfort of their living rooms. City folk have transformed into down and dirty farmers with the Facebook application and online game FarmVille. The game has swept the virtual world, with more than 65 million “farmers” registered to play and a third of them actively tending to their crops every day.

“We get stories all the time of people who set their alarm clocks to tend to their crops or people who love to play the game because it gives them a break from the real world or ‘city life,’” says Bill Mooney, FarmVille’s general manager.

When the Zynga company came up with the farming concept, they believed it would unite people from different backgrounds. As players have found, the game can be quite addicting, but not necessarily reflective of life on the farm.

“It doesn’t deal anything with crop rotation to save nutrients in the soil and erosion from over-farming. You get the same price whenever you sell or harvest your crops,” says Kristen Everman, a FarmVille player in Ohio who spent summers on a real farm growing up.

Zynga has heard from customers who play the game with their kids to teach about growing crops and time management, says spokesperson Lisa Chan; however, Zynga never intentionally sought to use the game for educational purposes, as most players realize.

“It has not taught me anything about farming really. It is more about time management,” says Kristen Copley who “farms” from her home in Atlanta. “For those who have very limited knowledge about farming, they might learn that grapes grow on vines and dates on trees.” 

So, kudos to you if you wake up at 6 o’clock to harvest your eggplant, but if you intend to be considered among the rising wave of urban farmers, you might need to take a break from Facebook to get there.

Give us your opinion on Not Quite Urban Farming.
Submit Comment »
Good model for teaching business strategies.
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 4/2/2014 6:42:40 PM
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 6/23/2013 7:58:58 AM
I'm a just-getting-going suburban farmer who plays Farmville... and I play it for fun, not because it represents the real world of farming. My beginning backyard farm is really nothing like my 'farm' in Farmville, because my real gardens require actual time and care on at least a daily basis as do my chickens. The real gardens--fruit trees, berries, veggie boxes and chickens are also a lot more satisfying and gratifying because I get something back for the work I put in. Farmville, not so much. And the only time management is what crop to plant so it comes due when you hit the computer next time. It's a game, not a representation of real life.
Karen, Folsom, CA
Posted: 1/14/2011 9:51:31 AM

Featured Product

Dogscaping: Creating the Perfect Backyard and Garden for You and Your Dog | More Info »

Related Articles

Advertiser Links

Top Products
Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.

Would you like to receive Farmer in the City Newsletters?X Close Window
Please provide us with your email address in order to access this valuable sustainable-living content.
Fields marked with an asterisk * are required.
* Are you at least 13 years old?
* First Name:
* Last Name:
* Email:
* City:
* State/Province:
* Enter the code shown:

  Yes, I would like to get valuable information from UrbanFarmOnline.com.
In order to opt-out of our newsletters, you can click on the "unsubscribe" link in the bottom of the newsletter.
  Yes, I would like to get valuable information from UrbanFarmOnline.com partners.